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trondheim 21/03/2010 - 05:30PM

Trondheim's screening of "God Sleeps in Rwanda"

“They say my country is so beautiful that although God may wander the world during the day He returns at night to sleep in Rwanda.” - Rwandan proverb

This we are told in writing, just before the ending credits roll over the screen in the documentary God sleeps in Rwanda. Before seeing this film, and with little knowledge of Rwanda, and where this knowledge one possess concerns one of the most terrible incidents in the world ever, the Rwandan genocide in 1994, one might come to believe that the title is to be understood as something like: "in this country God is not looking, he's not paying attention to the wrongdoings that happens, as he's sleeping. But as the proverb inclines this documentary tells a different story: about how one can find something beautiful in life, even after the worst possible has happened.

And that life, it goes on.

The women who in the documentary invites us to listen to their stories have all experienced horrible things during the genocide, and they are still facing hardship and tragedy as a consequence of these events. It might be watching your closest friend die of AIDS that she got from being raped, the hardship of taking care of your younger siblings alone from you yourself were a child, knowing you will not earn enough money for medication for your HIV-positive child, or raising a child who's father was one of many that raped you and was responsible for slaughtering the rest of your family.It's too horrifying to really grasp, yet you leave the screening with a sense of optimism and admiring of what some people are able to make out of a situation, even the worst imaginable.For these women find ways to carry on with their lives. They care for each other. If they have the opportunity, they get a job in the daytime and study in the evenings. They get elected as community leaders and advisers.

They demand and experience more liberty and have a bigger say in events than women did before in Rwanda. They claim the child as theirs, not the rapists', as the child has no fault, and is infact a joy like all children. And, even thought their parents might not be happy with what they have had to do, leave school  and raise their siblings, they know their parents would be proud, like one of the young women in the film puts it.

For the screening in Trondheim, we invited Joyce Busingye Joy from

Rwanda to further discuss the subjects the documentary discussed, and answer questions the audience had after the film. She could tell the audience of around 30 people that this is all true, all we are told in the documentary have happened in Rwanda, and the issues the women face today are real, it is still happening, it's not fiction.She also emphasises what has been done after the genocide to find peace and justice, and how it has taken a lot of forgiveness to get going. Holding on to all the horrible things that has happened is not the way to go, but one needs to look forward.

Despite the horrors that once happened, and the hardship that still follows it, Rwanda is a beautiful place, she tells us, and we should not be afraid to go and see it for ourselves. It's a great message we were told that evening, that even if we can not and should not forget dreadful events in history, life needs to continue and be lived.

 

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